Back in 2000, a man claimed to be a time travelor. Was he really?
|On November 2, 2000, a man first started posting on a public forum on the internet, relating to those very interested in theoretical sciene, that he was a time traveler from the year 2036. He initially used the handle Timetravel_0 and then later revealed himself to be John Titor. The story would probably not have gained much interest, except for a few things mentioned by Titor that others feel were predictions that later came true, as well as the level of consistency of his comments that some thought indicated a pattern of truthfulness. Regardless of your beliefs, this information would make for great fodder for fans of science fiction, and particularly provocative material for someone looking for ideas for writing a story about time travel.
John claimed to have traveled from the year 2036 in order to retrieve an old IBM 5100 computer that he said was necessary in order to correct some problems that people were having with some software infrastructure in the future. He was consistent in this every time he was asked. He said that a vast civil war had slowly started in the United States with early beginnings in the year 2004, and that world events and the civil war had prompted a series of happenings that lead to World War III in the year 2015, which had wiped out over 3 billion of the world’s population, including over 100 million Americans. This left infrastructure spotty and in need of service. The computer obtained from his mission was supposed to assist in rebuilding computer infrastructure to be used in some sort of capacity to help rebuild the environment.
According to John, the world, although irradicated of large numbers of people and fraught with the effects of nuclear fallout, contains a simpler existence with many advantages in the future. He describes a world of people so tired of war that near complete peace exists, and everything revolves around community. Families and communities are closely knit groups that all rely on each other for help. He also made mention of a lack of racial prejudice, a strong allegiance to individual freedoms, and a strong understanding that everyone has for their new Constitution.
John claimed that events fell out in the following manner. In the year 2004, there were groups of people creating disturbances of unrest, which he called “Waco type” events. These events became more and more prevalent until they became commonplace in about 2008. By this point, the federal government had tightened up so much on security within the large US cities that people had to give up a very large part of their personal freedoms. Some stayed, but many left the larger cities for the countryside and formed bands small armed forces, willing to fight against the federal government for their freedom. Meanwhile, tensions had become thinned between the federal government of the United States and Russia, along with may other western nations for the US backing of something having to do with the Chinese. In the year 2015, Russia lost its patience with the US government and seized the opportunity to attack a divided US. It sent nuclear missiles against the major cities, which had now become the faction of one side of the civil war. The other side of the civil war (the people living in the country side) finished off whatever resistance was left. The rest of the world was also drawn into the conflict and nuclear weapons devastated the planet, leaving only pockets of inhabitable land.
Titor claimed to have reached our time by the use of a time traveling device attached to a car. He provided whatever details of this device anyone asked him, which is one of the main sources of information people use for his believability. The device made use of information gained from the study of black holes, often the basis for many theories regarding time travel. He even posted photographs and diagrams of his time travel device, along with his explanations.
It is theorized by today’s minds that time slows down within a black hole, and it slows down the most near the black hole’s center, which is called a singularity. Titor readily admitted a lack of knowledge regarding the actual mechanics of the device, deferring to the fact that he was only a worker sent on a mission and not so much a physicist. However, he did provide some clarity. The device contained two singularities that converged and created a sort of hole in time, or really what he called a different worldline. The device was most accurate at finding the correct worldline at closer periods of time. In theory, a singularity is an object that has infinite density and zero mass, and so cannot be held by normal means (You can’t hold something that doesn’t have any mass). And so, each singularity was held in place by a magnetic force of some sort.
John Titor explains the feeling of travel in this way through his posts:
"The unit has a ramp up time after the destination coordinates are fed into the computers. An audible alarm and a small light start a short countdown at which point you should be secured in a seat.
The gravity field generated by the unit overtakes you very quickly. You feel a tug toward the unit similar to rising quickly in an elevator and it continues to rise based on the power setting the unit is working under. At 100% power, the constant pull of gravity can be as high as 2 Gs or more depending on how close you are to the unit. There are no serious side effects but I try to avoid eating before a flight.
No bright flash of light is seen. Outside, the vehicle appears to accelerate as the light is bent around it. We have to wear sunglasses or close our eyes as this happens due to a short burst of ultraviolet radiation.
Personally I think it looks like your driving under a rainbow. After that, it appears to fade to black and remains totally black until the unit is turned off. We are advised to keep the windows closed as a great deal of heat builds up outside the car. The gravity field also traps a small air pocket around the car that acts as your only O2 supply unless you bring compressed air with you.
This pocket will only last for a short period and a carbon sensor tells us when it's too dangerous. The C204 unit is accurate from 50 to 60 years a jump and travels at about 10 years an hour at 100% power.
You do hear a slight hum as the unit operates and when the power changes or the unit turns off. There is a great deal of electrical crackling noise from static electricity."
He further explains the operation of the machine in this post:
"Yes, it can be controlled. However, the distortion unit has operational limits. Imagine your path through time is through a cone. The farther away from the center of the cone, the more differences you will see in the worldline.
The C204 begins to "break away" at about 60 years. This means the level of confidence drops rapidly after 60 years of travel and the worldline divergence increases. In other words, if I wanted to go back 2000 years and meet Christ, there is a better than average chance I would end up on a worldline where he was never born.
The computer units and gravity sensors "record" your trip and you are quite easily able to return to your point of origin. I am aware that research is being done on faster units with more accurate clocks. I imagine that they will be able to go back farther with a higher degree of divergence confidence.
The hard part of traveling through time is not the bending of gravity but the plotting of your course and holding to the basic "position" in your environment. This is done through a system called VGL (variable gravity lock).
Basically, the unit takes a reading of the local gravity and samples it during the "trip" in pulses. If the gravity is too far off, the unit stops or reverses itself to the last sample period where the readings were correct. If there is some sort of failure, the unit shuts down and drops out to where ever you may be."
As for the physical effects of time travel, John writes:
"The only real physical trace is a large chunk of ground missing from the point of origin and a large pile of dirt at the destination. The gravity field surrounds a small portion of the earth under you and takes it along for the ride. There is really no way around this."
Upon reading about many of the issues regarding time travel and black holes, I discovered a number of obstacles for time travel that would need to be addressed by a supposed time travelor. One of the obstacles often discussed is the problem with small variances in different things that might happen. For instance, would I cause a problem in our current time merely by being present in a former time? I might, for example, talk to someone and make mention of something very innocently that would cause that person to make a different decision than he otherwise might have. What effects would this have on the future? John offers an explanation here that coincides with current quantum theory in that there are an infinite number of worldlines, each with its own occurrences and circumstances. John attempts to stay as close to his own worldline as possible so as to avoid getting the wrong information and the correct computer he needs.
He seems to also Have discussed how other problems are handled, such as various radiations that would theoretically be incredibly intense during time travel. The forces created by the intensity of the singularities are also discussed. The machine keeps gravitational pull down to a minimum of not more than about 2 Gs, where many current scientists would estimate gravitational pull near a singularity to be well into the millions of Gs.
Although white holes (the mathematical opposite of black holes) and wormholes are not mentioned, they might be implied. Current theorists that believe such things as time travel are possible in this manner imagine a white hole, which repels all matter and is the opposite of a black hole, to collide with a black hole, the result being a tiny wormhole through which one could travel through time and space. The problem would be that wormholes would be incredibly small, and perhaps less than an atom in width. If we are to believe the account here, there would have had to be a way to either open the wormhole wide enough to pass through, or there was another way altogether that has yet to be considered in our time. This isn’t explained.
Another problem would have been in creating a singularity. According to theory, a singularity is created when a star implodes over many billions of years to such a point as to become infinitely dense. That is quite a lot of energy required. The required solution for this also was not mentioned.
Of course, it goes without saying that Titor was questioned for some sort of proof of his claims. He offered some things, besides what he claimed as the physical evidence of his time machine. He mentioned that there was a problem with the code in UNIX, the computer operating system that he said would cause problems in the future. He stated that anyone really in the know with UNIX would be able to look into and realize this. He also stated that the computer he sought, the IBM 5100, was a sort of prototype that carried a special sort of coding known only to a very small handful of people at IBM, and that someone within the company might also be able to verify this claim. He also claimed to leave various other nuggets like this in his posts, but never directly mentioned them again.
Unfortunately, we can no longer ask John Titor any more questions regarding any of these issues. On March 24, 2001, he placed his final post. He had said he would be returning to 2036, and there has been no other postings or valid claims from anyone claiming to be John Titor since that time. Perhaps we will wind out our true answers sometime a few decades from now.
As a follow-up, I have left out quite a bit of other interesting information regarding John Titor. A complete and full account of his postings is kept at http://www.johntitor.com.